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Home News Wrapped up for the Holidays donates more than 250 blankets, toques, and gloves following successful Christmas campaign

Wrapped up for the Holidays donates more than 250 blankets, toques, and gloves following successful Christmas campaign

Wrapped up for the Holidays donates more than 250 blankets, toques, and gloves following successful Christmas campaign
Moose Lodge general worker Gary Bird loads up a pile of blankets at the Parkland Ambulance East Flat location on Wednesday, Jan. 11. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

The cost of living may have increased, but that didn’t affect the 15th annual Wrapped up for the Holidays winter gear drive.

On Wednesday, representatives from Parkland Ambulance, CTV, Gateway Mall, and Anderson Chrysler pooled the donated gloves, toques, scarves, and blankets they received during the holidays and donated them to the PAGC’s Moose Lodge.

Parkland Ambulance spokesman Lyle Karasiuk estimated they received more than 250 donated items this year. That’s similar to what they received the year before.

Karasiuk said it’s a credit to Prince Albert residents that donations never dropped off despite the rise in costs over the past few months.

“I think it says a lot about our community,” Karasiuk said. “I think it speaks to the generosity of our community that when times are tough … (and) it costs more to eat, it costs more to do everything, drive your car, people still think, ‘I have a few items that I can give away that I don’t need.’”

While the donation numbers never faltered, Karasiuk said items residents donated did change. This year, they saw more gently used items, instead of newly purchased. They also saw more residents knitting their own items for donation instead of buying new ones.

There were also a significant number of items from residents downsizing or clearing up space.

“From the community side, it’s so nice that people think, ‘hey, I’ve got these extra items, the kids have outgrown these coats, I don’t know what to do with them,’” Karasiuk said.

“I had one lady come by. She said, ‘we sold our cottage at the lake. I don’t need all these blankets. I don’t need all this. What do I do with it?’ I said, ‘give it to us. We’ll find a home for it.’”

All items were packed up and shipped off to the Moose Lodge, where volunteers and employees will hand them out to vulnerable residents who use the new Moose Caboose mobile warm up station.

From left to right, Natalie Clyke (Moose Lodge), Lyle Karasiuk (Parkland Ambulance), and Donna Hordyski (Gateway Mall). — Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Moose Lodge coordinator Natalie Clyke said she’s pleased so many residents keep donating to the program even though the economic landscape has changed.

“We really do value the items we have (and) we recognize the value of handing them to somebody else who will benefit as well,” Clyke said. “I think we’re reminding ourselves of our community that we grew up in—that we share and we recognize the value of the items that we have in hand instead of always striving for new items. I really see that being a significant part of our community.”

On average, Clyke said they receive 10 to 12 requests every day for blankets or winter gear at Moose Lodge. The Moose Caboose receives roughly the same number every night.

Karasiuk said Prince Albert paramedics also see large numbers of vulnerable people who don’t have proper winter gear.

“Honestly, I could probably give away a bag of toques every night easily,” he said. “Easily, from the people we see, just in visiting a house and seeing there’s no mittens or toques for kids to go to school (and) stuff like that.

“There’s a constant need in our community at all levels, and we’re just so happy that the community recognizes the need (and) helps out. We can be that conduit to get it there.”

Anderson Chrysler came on as a first year campaign sponsor, joining longtime supporters CTV, and Gateway Mall, who have supported the event since the beginning.

Mall marketing coordinator Donna Hordyski said they’re always happy to setup a few Wrapped up for the Holidays drop off bins during Christmas.

“That’s been a wonderful thing, to contact (Lyle) and say, ‘it’s full. Come and empty it,’” Hordyski said. “We are very proud to be a PA partner in this. We’ve been a partner right from the inception, and this initiative is wonderful.”

Representatives from Anderson Chrysler were unable to attend the donation ceremony.

Residents who still have winter gear or blankets they wish to donate can drop them off at a Parkland Ambulance location.